Patrick Demarco Scott Jr.’s bedroom door in South Berkeley has been closed since the morning he left home for work in early February.
Scott, a 27-year-old man with a disability who lived with his mother and teenage brother in a home near California Street, was fatally shot near his Market Street bus stop minutes after he left that February morning. His mother rushed him to the hospital but he did not survive.
“I still haven’t gone in his room,” said Scott’s mother, Carol Jones, on Monday. “His toothbrush, his cereal, everything is the same.”
Also left untouched in his room are Scott’s books. He would lose himself for hours, Jones said, learning all he could about his favorite athletes through reading, and by watching the History channel. He had an encyclopedic knowledge of players across a range of sports, including football, basketball and baseball. Watching games, he would call the plays, and could tell when athletes were running them wrong. But it wasn’t so much the teams as the players, particularly the African American ones, who would catch his interest.
“He knew the man’s mother’s name, cousins — whatever there was to be known about that particular player, he knew everything about it,” Jones recalled. Last weekend, she held a memorial event to keep the case in the public eye and encourage anyone with information to come forward. No arrests have been made, despite substantial rewards, including $30,000 from the FBI and an additional reward from Scott’s family.
Scott kept to himself and rarely left his bedroom, even when he was at home. He would tell his family that was because they made “too much noise.” He had a small fridge in his room, which became a world unto itself. For the most part, he’d only come out to use the restroom. An exception to that rule, however, was when Scott would make tacos for the family, “some of the best tacos ever,” his mother said. She would remind Scott’s younger brother, now 15, to leave the sensitive cook alone: “‘When he cooks those tacos, don’t go in there and say anything — if you go in there and look at him, he’ll get mad. If you say something to him, it’s gonna be over.'”
In his room, Scott also kept a souvenir book full of ticket stubs from fights he attended with his uncle in Las Vegas. Though he usually steered clear of crowds or public contact, he loved the ringside fights, his mother said.
“Vegas was his favorite city,” she said. “His face would just light up like a Christmas tree.”
Those yearly trips with his uncle were the only time Scott was ever far from home, or away from Jones, apart from growing up for a time with his grandmother, a nurse in Oakland. Scott was a private person: Showing his mother a photo he took on one trip, he forbid her from showing it to anyone else. In addition to his souvenir book full of ticket stubs, he had a little box where he kept mementos. When Jones would ask to look at the ticket stubs, Scott made her promise to keep them safe, and give them back.
“I’ve been to all the fights,” he would tell her, proudly. “He was sweet, he was beautiful. He was a humble person. He just kept to himself.”
Scott told his mother he wanted to go with her to Las Vegas, and Jones had agreed they would plan the trip: “We can just walk around and look at the lights,” he told her.
Usually, though, it was tough for Scott to go outside, his mother said, because he often worried about how people saw him. If people were laughing, he thought they might be laughing at him. Jones said she did her best to reassure him. Scott and his mother had a close bond. She would check in on him throughout the day to make sure he was taking his medication, that he’d eaten, that he was keeping his phone charged. Sometimes he would call her to confess that he had missed a dose, and would apologize.
Scott also loved expensive shoes, everything from Nike Foamposite tennis shoes to Prada. Jones recalled how much he longed after certain pairs.
“I’m like, ‘Patrick, you gotta wait until they go on sale!'” she would tell him. Coming home with a new purchase, as his mother drove, Scott would sit in the backseat, marveling over the shoes. He would take them out of their box and touch them, smell them. “These for me, these for me,” he would say, adding, “Thank you, Mama. I love you, Mama.”
Jones said Saturday, Feb. 3, began as a happy morning. Scott put on his favorite red jacket, which Jones had finally been able to buy him, after it went on sale. The family ate a breakfast of hot links, eggs and toast. Scott always had to have “his juice,” too, Jones remembered. His favorites were grape juice and Gatorade.
On his way out the door, shortly before 10:30 a.m., he grabbed another link and a piece of toast. Jones watched him as he walked down 63rd Street toward Market. Scott didn’t like his mom to watch him, so Jones tried to keep a low profile, and only kept her eyes on him until a nearby corner.
But, as soon as she sat down, she heard gunfire. She was immediately worried about her son. Jones ran outside barefoot and jumped into her truck, driving over a barrier in the roadway that creates a dead end at California Street. When she saw Scott at the corner of Market, trying to walk toward home, she jumped out and ran to him, pleading with him to hold on, urging him to breathe.
Scott said, to her recollection, they waited 20 minutes for any police or firefighters to respond. But no one came.
“I’m not gonna let my baby die on the sidewalk,” she remembered thinking. She ran back to her truck and managed to get him into the backseat. As she sped to the hospital, they talked the whole time, she said.
“He kept saying, ‘Mama, slow down, it’s going to be OK,'” Jones said. She drove him to Children’s Hospital in Oakland, where paramedics put him into an ambulance for Highland Hospital. But it was too late. Scott was pronounced dead a short time later.
Jones said she’d had trouble in the past getting first responders to her home quickly in other medical situations, which was why she took matters into her own hands. A neighbor later told Jones it took nine more minutes — after Jones left — before an ambulance arrived. She said she believes, had paramedics come sooner, they may have been able to render life-saving aid in the ambulance that could have helped her son survive.
Jones herself is no stranger to grief, including the particularly heartbreaking kind of grief that comes with losing one’s child to violence. For the past decade, she has run the More Foundation out of the Morning Star Baptist Church in Oakland. It’s the same church Jones has attended since 1983.
Jones began her work with the foundation, doing counseling and crisis response, after a close family friend was murdered. She helped walk the family through the impossibly difficult process, making arrangements with the funeral home, putting together the obituary, going to the office for victims of violent crime, to help get the financial aid that’s available to them in those situations. But Jones never stopped the work. She said it likely helped prepare her for aspects of her own family’s tragedy, but made it no less terrible.
“Losing someone you carried nine months, it puts your body in shock,” she said. “It’s like your life is at a standstill.”
She said she has relied heavily on prayer to get her through each day. Even sometimes, as her pastor taught her, “just a sentence prayer,” saying, “‘Touch me, Lord,’ or ‘Hold me, Lord, move right now. Something quick,’ she has thought, ‘it feels like I’m about to snap.'”
Saturday, family members, the church community, police and other supporters came together to remember Scott — and others killed in unsolved Oakland homicide cases — with a march and rally on Market Street. Jones said she particularly appreciated how police officers who were there got out of their cars and joined the prayer circle in memory of her son. Oakland city officials were also there, including Mayor Libby Schaaf and Oakland council members Dan Kalb and Rebecca Kaplan.
Scott said she hopes the people in the neighborhood who know what happened will come forward and share those details with police.
“They saw it, but they are scared to speak out and speak up,” she said. “That’s what we are having problems with now.”
The Oakland Police Department Homicide Section can be reached at 510-238-3821. Its confidential tip line is at 510-238-7950.